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Occupy L.A. Wants Their Murals Back. Will the City Oblige?

Photo by Greg Lilly Photos via the LAist Featured Photos pool
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Members of Occupy Los Angeles don't want to see the City of L.A. give away the murals that once stood at the City Hall encampment, and have asked The Department of Cultural Affairs to return to murals to them.

In an open letter to the DCA posted on the OLA site yesterday and sent on to the DCA, the Occupiers write:

[W]e respectfully deny your call for conditional possession of the OLA Murals. We believe your appraisal of the OLA Murals misunderstands their true purpose and value. Outside OLA’s group of autonomous Mural artists, OLA, or the People themselves, we believe the artworks should neither be owned, nor released to institutions, nor displayed without the consent of the Occupy Los Angeles General Assembly. The OLA Murals were made for the People and they belong to the People. Therefore, we cannot, in principle, condone their release to anybody else.

The murals, painted on the plywood that was erected to protect the fountain in the City Hall courtyard, have been in the City's possession since the December 1, 2011 raid that shut down the encampment. The DCA has been seeking bids for interested parties to take ownership of the murals; the bid deadline is Monday.

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DCA General Manager Olga Garay said she received the letter this morning, and according to City News Service, she is not opposed to giving the murals back to Occupy L.A. and does not want to get into an adversarial relationship with the movement.

Ultimately, though, Garay says the decision is up to Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who took the posture of wanting to preserve the murals as "artifacts" post-raid. (You know, because he's such a supportive fan of the Occupiers.)

Garay also believes there are organizations in the city whose ideals align with the Occupy movement who could preserve and store the murals. Adds Garay: "I think we can solve this."